Nowadays, sleep seems to be a thing of the past for many students in the U.S. Lack of sleep can be caused by insomnia, but many other factors can leave someone with sleep deprivation, whether chronic or acute.
A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain. It adversely affects the brain and cognitive functions.
However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are more problems that come with the lack of sleep in teens.
According to a Nationwide Children’s study, teenagers are supposed to have a minimum of nine hours of sleep in order for their mind and body be fully functional for the day.
However, according to a survey given to 152 Parkdale students, 38 percent of students slept 4-5 hours, almost 50 percent only slept 6-7 hours, and only 6 percent slept the recommended amount of 9 hours or more.
The students surveyed reported that they are typically unable to sleep for various reasons such as extracurricular activities, homework, and jobs, which in return causes many of them to go to school feeling exhausted or unable to focus. This exhaustion can directly affect their grades.
“Due to the fact that I don’t get much sleep, i often feel tired and don’t look forward to learning” said senior Katerin Lizama. “I have more responsibilities to juggle, so I don’t really get much sleep trying to get everything done.”
Lizama’s sleep struggles are directly associated with a “cycle” of her daily routine: she wakes up for school, goes to softball practice, goes to work and returns home, only to have to finish homework.
With so many things to be done for Lizama and other Parkdale students during and after school, sleep slowly begins to be less of a priority.
“When I didn’t work, there wasn’t too much to worry about just school, homework, sleep,” said Lizama.
As time passes, however, students grow and so do their responsibilities. With more responsibilities and less sleep, students could be facing health problems in the future.
Sleep plays an important role in one’s physical health. For example, it is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes.
Despite those physical and mental problems that come with not being able to sleep, the recommended amount of sleep for students is difficult to obtain due to their schedules being full during weekdays.
“On school days, I get four hours of sleep and on a good day six hours sleep,” said senior Isabel Luna. “I’m fighting someone because I don’t get my nine hours for seven days.”
Luna, like many seniors, prioritizes homework and grades over sleep to ensure she walks across the stage in May.
“The beginning of the school year was harder because of the deadlines,” said Luna. “But now that the year is coming to an end, I feel less stressed.”
While academics, extracurriculars and even phone usage can be the reason for the lack of sleep in teens, it’s important for students to they must take care of themselves first. Get some sleep, Panthers!